IN THEIR OWN IMAGE:
Local Broadcasting Initiatives and
in Southwestern Newfoundland
Ivan Emke, Ph.D.
Sir Wilfred Grenfell College
Memorial University of Newfoundland
Corner Brook, NF
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In Their Own Image: Local Broadcasting Initiatives and Economic Development in
This research examines various applications of a model of
community economic development which includes a central role for
the use of communications technologies (film, video, cable
television, etc.). The paper begins by arguing that we need to
include culture and communications in our definitions of
"community economic development." It then analyzes a number of
projects which have tested this model of development over the
past 30 years. These include the "Fogo Process," the work of
Memorial University of Newfoundland's Extension Service, the
Communication for Survival Initiative, and the development of
community-owned cable television systems which produce some of
their own programming. The paper concludes by recognizing both
(i) the value of the community-directed use of communications
technologies in developing local consensus and confidence; and
(ii) the continuing difficulties in measuring the success of such
Communities are able to sustain themselves over
generations on the basis of a common identity, purpose,
and culture that binds people together. A community
identity is shaped by its local traditions, the way
people express themselves in art, a geographical
landscape, shared experiences of the past, and people's
dreams and hopes for a future.... Culture is the
spirit and binding force that keeps communities alive
even in the face of economic hardship and disaster
(Nozick, 1994: 87).
In my part of the world, it has become something of a litany to
begin a paper on economic development by making reference to
"globalization" -- not as a clearly-defined concept, but as some
kind of amorphous and inexorable force which will discipline our
every decision. But I would rather begin by noting my sense of
reassurance that, in the face of the discourse (and sometimes
reality) of globalization, there are still communities and
regions which value their own history and culture.1.
Furthermore, one of the most significant challenges of
globalization (or at least of that way of thinking) is the loss
of "community," which was traditionally a source of identity and
A successful community can talk to itself. It will not find
total agreement on issues, but the communication needs to occur.
This paper shares an assumption of Carey that communication has a
ritual aspect; it is the "creation, representation and
celebration of shared values" and it is through communication
that communities are "created, maintained, and transformed"
(Carey, 1985: 33). But in order to facilitate this important
process, a community needs to use technologies of communication
which provide images of itself. Before the existence of an
increasingly-global mainstream media culture, this sort of
communication was more easily achieved, especially in isolated
communities (such as those which are at the forefront of this
paper). But in an age of satellites, cable television and the
internet, small communities are not seeing themselves reflected
in what they listen to and watch. And, as Nozick wrote: "The
task of building and preserving a community-based culture is a
daunting one given the powerful forces of mass culture and
globalization which are working to erase local culture from our
memories and imaginations" (1994:87).
In this context, the goal of community economic development is
more than just to create jobs, but also to strengthen a
community's ability to regenerate and sustain itself over time.
In Newfoundland, this discussion of sustainable communities comes
in the midst of forces for resettlement and fragmentation. In
some ways, the term "community development" is a bit misleading,
as we are talking about community survival in the case of some of
Just mention of the term "resettlement" conjures up a checkered
part of Newfoundland history, as if refers to several programs of
the Provincial and Federal governments to relocate entire
isolated communities. Between 1954 and 1974, 253 communities
were "evacuated" (the government's word) throughout the province
(this does not include communities which experienced out-
migration and depopulation during this time period). In terms of
population, between 1965 and 1970 alone, 20,184 persons were
resettled. Today, some community leaders discuss the "new
resettlement," which relates to a perception that the Provincial
government (through the withdrawal of services) plans to let
rural communities die (blaming "globalization" as the cause).
With this context in mind, the core purpose of the paper is to
provide a record of some ways that communications technologies
have been used as explicit aids to community economic development
in Newfoundland. It documents techniques over the past 30 years,
some of which are continuing. These have not been universally
successful, nor is their evaluation a simple matter. But they do
represent a tradition of a particular set of uses for
communications technology. In spite of a tendency to
characterize television, video and film as "entertainment," these
technologies (and the process that goes into their use) can
unleash positive forces within communities.
The paper begins with a general discussion of community
economic development and then moves into an examination of
several models/innovations which have included communications
technology as a central element in development. These include
the work of the Extension Service (ES) of Memorial University of
Newfoundland (MUN), the National Film Board (NFB) and ES co-
operation in Fogo Island, the use of narrowcasting by the ES, and
the Communication for Survival Initiative. We also end up in
Burgeo and Ramea, two communities on the southwest coast of
Newfoundland, where the latest chapter in the relationship
between communications and community development is taking place.
Each of the experiments represents a slightly different model of
how to integrate communications technology in the process of
community self-definition and self-development. One of the
experiments (the ES/NFB model) has become known as the "Fogo
Process." Given that tradition, we could also refer to "the Port
au Choix Process," "the Buchans Process" and "the Burgeo
Process." They each have some distinctive elements, but they all
have at least one common purpose -- to use communications
technologies as tools in community economic development.
COMMUNITY ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
This paper is arguing for an inclusive definition of economic
development which includes communication/culture issues as a part
of the model. It is assumed that there is a relationship between
communication within a community (consensus building, etc.) and
successful economic development. Instead of focussing on top-
down, expert-driven models (when solutions come from outside),
the examples in this paper champion the ways in which
participatory communications technologies can lead to the
formation of bottom-up, grassroots models of development.3.
In conventional economic thinking, which has been influenced by
modernization theory, development is seen in strictly economic
terms and is measured using economic indicators such as income,
local GNP, employment and local business development. The focus
is thus on economic development, even though it is social
objectives which provide the strongest community cohesion. In
the case of outport communities, it is the outmigration of the
young and middle-aged (and of families) which may stimulate
action. There is an overriding social objective (keeping schools
open, clinics available, fire services, etc.) which has a
relationship to economics but is in no way subsumed under
One result of this narrow definition of community development
is that the "top-down" assistance from government tends to over-
emphasize the economic at the expense of the social. For
example, federal attempts at regional industrial expansion have
often relied on either an emphasis on resource extraction (which
may not give a region any autonomy), or on global competitiveness
and export maximization. However, to compete for capital
nationally, communities primp themselves as being as attractive
as possible (low wages are a big draw, in most cases, or a lack
of environmental controls). The ultimate answer in the
conventional model is still an external one -- outside capital
and operators, which puts communities in constant competition
with other communities for mobile capital (Gunn and Gunn, 1991:
Federal programs such as DRIE and ACOA have been attempts at
making links between local regions and the national economy, but
they do not necessarily help communities in their independent
development. The provision of seed funding by government is
crucial, but the "top-down" nature of such programs often
"undermine their grassroots goals" (van Geest, 1994: 22). In a
paper on the Antigonish Movement of Cape Breton and western Nova
Scotia, Dodaro and Pluta argue that "the increase in government
participation in the local economy has tended to undermine the
sense of self reliance that was a salient feature of the region"
(1995: 12). What government funding has often done, according to
these researchers, is to make rural communities less innovative
and more dependent on outside "experts," and all at an enormous
In comparison to the conventional approach to development,
Brodhead (1994) notes that there is also a "progressive" approach
which emphasizes the formation of local institutions and
community empowerment. At issue is not just the creation of
wealth, but also its distribution. In addition, "authentic"
community economic development (CED) links economics with social,
cultural and other sectors of the community, so the goals are not
simply economic, but also socio-cultural. Thus, indicators of
success cannot simply be local GNP or some such measure of
income/wealth, but there is a need for other social indicators of
such factors as local pride or cultural survival.
This is the model of development which is assumed in the
experiments mentioned below. The CED plan must reflect local
decision-making practices, and must be democratic. This does not
mean that there is total consensus within a community and that
there are no differences -- to ignore the differences would be
dangerous (and unrealistic). The consensus is built and refined
through the use of communications technologies (and the
interaction that takes place in their use).
As a result of the process of coming to a consensus, a
community is able to think about its situation in more creative
ways. O'Neill refers to a new form of entrepreneurship called
"community" or "collective entrepreneurship" (1994: 60). We
often think of entrepreneurship in individualistic terms (with an
emphasis on profit), but that is not the only meaning of the
term. Risk-taking, innovation and creativity are also community
characteristics (such as in Ramea's decision to take over the
local fish plant, which is discussed later). What are the
institutions which might support and enhance such collective
entrepreneurship? How does a community develop the confidence to
take collective risks? This is where community story-telling,
community broadcasting and its use in cultural survival fits in -
- the technologies, and their use, can increase local identity
and pride. In sum, when asking whether local broadcasting
initiatives are of any value, one needs to remember that economic
development should not be seen in narrow economistic terms, and
that economic benefits can accrue from social and cultural
EARLY ATTEMPTS: MUN'S EXTENSION SERVICE
Memorial University of Newfoundland's Extension Service (ES)
was set up in 1959 to work in rural areas, to provide access to
continuing education, and to become participants in community and
social development. During the 1960s, the ES had some "signal
achievements," on which its high reputation rested. During those
years, the ES had a high degree of independence, which did
isolate it from other parts of the university. And, in times of
struggles for resources, ES did not have the links and friends
necessary to come out unscathed.5. One important contribution of
ES was that a number of people involved in later community
economic development, especially those who championed the central
role of communication, had experience with MUN's Extension
Institutionally, there were continued re-evaluations within the
university with reference to the Extension Service. For example,
a committee appointed in 1980 to review the ES criticized the
organization's ambiguous objectives, problems in leadership, and
its "narrow" view of development, which tended to be focussed on
economic development. Furthermore, the report condemned the
"essentially masculine bent" of the field workers, and the lack
of a working relationship with other segments of the university.
"Worse still has been an almost anti-intellectual bias of some
field workers, a tendency to consolidate one's position with
local residents by denigrating the academics in St. John's who
know nothing of the 'real' Newfoundland" (Committee on the Review
of the Extension Service, 1981: 40).
In a response to this report, a 1982 proposal for the
revitalization of the ES recognized the problems of the ES,
acknowledging that ES "has been living on its record rather than
blazing new trails" (Harris, 1982: 1). Thus, the "30-year
tradition" (as some writers state it) of using communication
technologies in development is not an unbroken record. There
were some serious problems in the ES, maybe for most of its
history. As Callanan (a participant from the early days) wrote:
"Like a star that is quickly burning out and whose light is just
now reaching the earth, information about our past is still
reaching new hearers for the first time. This is somewhat of an
embarrassment to us since we know that our present day Extension
Service is a shadow of its former self" (Callanan, 1981: 1). To
be frank (and maybe somewhat ungenerous), the Extension Service
was a success in the 1960s, limped through the 1970s, expired in
the 1980s and was finally buried in the 1990s (to be partially
Without a doubt, one of the central goals of the Extension
Service (at least on a good day) was community and individual
empowerment. In this light, its activities provide an example of
one way to do community development. One path to this
empowerment was through participatory communications -- using
communications technology, but allowing the community members to
participate in making the programs.
There was a strong assumption in the Extension Service of the
link between video and film representations and community
economic development (Sherk et al., 1974; Lee, 1980). To
illustrate this working assumption, early in its history the ES
decided that television should be used to reach people throughout
the province. In the Fall of 1960, ES began to produce and
broadcast non-credit courses over standard television stations
(Colford, 1964). Throughout the 1960s, courses were offered in
areas such as Home Economics, 20th Century History, Forest
Conservation, Fisheries Problems and Techniques, Shakespeare,
Municipal Government, Newfoundland Geography and Geology and Art
Appreciation. By the middle of the 1960s, most of the major
urban centres had television stations (or re-broadcast stations)
which would co-operate in broadcasting the programs. One of the
most popular of the TV shows, first broadcast in 1961, was "Decks
Awash." The series continued until 1977 (by which time a
somewhat-similar CBC program, "Land and Sea," had taken over some
of the topic areas). "Decks Awash" began as a one-person
operation (although he made about 26 shows per year), and
throughout its broadcast history it maintained a strong community
development focus (Lee et al., 1977: 2).
The communications technology was not an end in itself to the
ES, but it was a part of a larger development strategy. The
overall strategy needed to be supported by local leaders,
educators, field workers and some government departments.
Without the other elements, it was felt that the participatory
communication only raised expectations "beyond any means to
satisfy them" (Williamson, 1973: 2). There was an attempt not to
come to the communities offering services and answers, but coming
to the communities to ask questions and to prompt the people to
take control over their own destiny and become the developers
themselves. Success was measured by not being needed any more.
THE FOGO PROCESS: THE EXTENSION SERVICE MEETS THE NFB
What has become known as "the Fogo Process" was a meeting of
two trajectories, one originating at MUN's Extension Service and
one at the NFB, and ending up together on an isolated island off
the north coast of Newfoundland. One of the initiators of the
process was Donald Snowden, whose assumption (shared elsewhere in
the ES) was that true development aid would assist individuals in
their "blossoming" and creativity. Snowden, who was trained as a
journalist, had worked in the Canadian Government's Department of
Northern Affairs for many years before arriving in Newfoundland
in 1964. His first job was a one-year study on why co-operatives
had not worked in Newfoundland (especially among producer
groups), whereupon he was invited to join MUN's Extension Service
as Director, in 1965.
Snowden already had a keen interest in Fogo, and believed that
it would probably work as a place for a producer co-operative.7.
Fogo Island, just off the northeast coast of Newfoundland,
contained 10 communities and about 5,000 people at the time, but
they were being urged to move to the "growth centres." The real
"problem" in Fogo was that fishermen were deprived of
information, and had no direct access to information. There was
even poor (or at least irregular) communication across the
island's 10 communities. During this time, the chance of the
entire island being resettled was being proposed. In response to
the threat of resettlement, the Fogo Island Improvement Committee
was formed in 1964. This committee helped to bring in the ES and
later the National Film Board, and went on to become a Rural
Development Association. So the groundwork for the "Fogo
Process" was laid by people within the community.
By 1966, 60 percent of the people on Fogo Island were on
welfare, and after a decline in landings, the major fish merchant
packed up and left (Clugston, 1991). Fogo, in 1967, was not a
particularly united place. They were separated by religion, and
in small towns, each denomination still had its own school.8.
And Fogo illustrated the general rural context at this time in
the province -- widespread illiteracy, little municipal
government, few local services, and a great inequality of power
between merchants (and sometimes clergy) and residents.
The second trajectory was unfolding many miles away, in the
offices of the National Film Board. In 1967 Canada was waging a
"War on Poverty," and it had enlisted the NFB's assistance. A
project was planned, called "Challenge for Change," and a pilot
film was made. Titled "The Things I Cannot Change," it showed a
poor Montreal family of 12 who were barely subsisting on welfare.
It was released to the public before being seen by the family,
and the family had no control over the film's final form, and
they were "subsequently ostracized and ridiculed by their
neighbours, an experience that only compounded their
powerlessness and despair" (Goldberg, 1990: 12). The film won
six awards, but the controversy around it indicated to some of
the Board's film-makers the need to consider the dignity of the
people in the film.
As a part of this "Challenge for Change" program, the NFB sent
film-maker Colin Low and a film unit to Newfoundland to make a
film about rural poverty. He teamed up with Don Snowden, who was
frustrated with the tendency to see poverty only through urban
eyes. Snowden had been enraged by a report from the Economic
Council of Canada in 1965 on Poverty in Canada which focussed
only on urban poverty. There was no sensitivity to rural
poverty, especially to situations where cash was not the major
currency (the truck system where merchants kept a running tally,
but no cash changed hands, was predominant in many communities).
Also, Snowden believed that rural poverty involved a poverty of
isolation from centres of power, of a lack of information and of
inadequate organization (Quarry, 1984).
Low and Snowden (who had been an admirer of Low's work)
searched the island for an appropriate place. They chose Fogo
Island, partly due to Snowden's knowledge of the place, and
partly because Fred Earle was on the Island at the time. Earle,
a Fogo Islander himself, was working with the Extension Service
and he had a good relationship with the people. He was
instrumental in getting the "Fogo Island Film and Community
Development Project" underway. Low spent a summer on Fogo (in
1967), recruited local students to apprentice with his film crew
and began filming and interviewing residents. The actual
"process" in the Fogo Process is the community action which takes
place in planning and then responding to the films.
Low produced 28 films (modules), each of which focussed on some
aspect of the life of those in Fogo. Some were on problems in
the area, others celebrated the culture. In sum, they provided a
holistic portrait of life in Fogo. Snowden claims that, after
The rushes were sent back to Ottawa. Low had begun to
believe, I think, that the people on Fogo should see
some of that material. He showed it to some of them
but it became part of the mythology that this was part
of process when in fact it was not. At that time there
was nothing defined that people would automatically
have editing rights to their material. What Low did
was to let them see some of it because they had not
seen films of themselves before (cited in Quarry, 1984:
After the rough cuts were made, the 16 mm films were shipped back
to Fogo and shown at a series of community screenings. At each
screening, the Extension worker (or an NFB person) would lead a
discussion on a development issue, with the film as a catalyst.
There was no new information in the films, but they allowed the
people to see themselves in a more objective manner, to see their
faults, but also their strengths. They could also be exposed to
the dissenting views of fellow Fogo Islanders without direct
hostility or confrontation.
There is a powerful "mirror effect" of seeing one's own life
and words. People saw themselves in a new light, with knowledge,
skills, strength, and values worth saving. This increased their
self-confidence and their ability to express themselves and
organize. It also prompted them to work together more, as an
Island, and they saw that they had been fighting each other,
setting community against community. The films helped in a move
toward consensus building.
Thus, the key was not just the films themselves (the images and
representations of the community), but the way in which they were
used to initiate other discussions and developments. "The Fogo
Process, as it started to emerge from the original filming and
screenings on Fogo Island, was critically linked to a sustained
program of community development efforts" (Williamson, 1991:
274). This was not just some passing "Hawthorne Effect," because
it was accompanied by constructive discussions and actions.
The films themselves are subsidiary to the purpose of community
economic development. (This may be true of community programming
in general, in that the actual programs are of less importance
than the community actually seeing their lives represented, and
the planning that goes into that and the interactions and ideas
which flow out of it). According to Colin Low, "Fogo is not a
process, but an attitude or a method based on an attitude. It
essentially regards silent people -- the silent man, the silent
majority, for that matter -- as worthy of the privilege of a
voice-expression" (cited in Coish, 1975: 44).9.
As for standard measures of success, certain of the films were
shown to Cabinet Ministers, one of whom responded to the Fogo
Islanders on film as well. It convinced some that there were
development alternatives for Fogo Island, and resettlement was
not inevitable. By the 1970s, welfare rolls on Fogo had
decreased (able-bodied relief went down 60%), a co-op had been
developed, some roads had been paved, the quality of the fish
landings had improved, and the community looked vibrant. At
first Premier Joey Smallwood was cool to this revitalization (as
it showed that resettlement, his idea, was not necessarily an
inevitability). But in 1971, when visiting the island, he
stated: "Now this university crowd -- extension crowd -- they
have done absolutely fantastic work. The thing they put together
visually in a movie, in television, makes you think -- a big
experiment in social organization of an island that seemed five
years ago to be doomed" (cited in Coish: 44).
The Fogo Process was then shifted to other sites. The
Extension Service set up its own 16mm film production crew and
facility after the Fogo experience. The crew was to apply the
process in other communities. Port au Choix was chosen next, and
modules were made regarding the economic situation, resettlement,
and the needs and aspirations of youth.
A new dimension was added in the Port au Choix experiment --
the "approval screenings," when people who were interviewed saw
the rough cuts and could make suggestions about further cuts or
insertions, and to approve the distribution of the module in
general. Snowden himself set down this rule. The NFB had talked
about that policy in their time on Fogo, but they did not
actually institute the policy.
This made the process even more participatory, and one might go
so far as to refer to the development as the "Port au Choix
Process." Approval screenings allowed people to feel more
comfortable as well, if they knew that they had editing control.
They could avoid being hurt or feeling misrepresented (a
consistent rural complaint related to conventional broadcast
media coverage). However, because of the trust developed between
field workers, film-makers and the communities, little actual
editing had to be done.10.
One key to the success of the original Fogo Process and other
ES work was that the communities did not have access to
television. When the Fogo Process was tried in parts of the
impoverished southern US, it did not work as well, since "people
were used to television and had lots of access to information in
ways that people didn't have them in the outports of Newfoundland
at that time" (Snowden, cited in Quarry, 1984: 45).
In an interview before his untimely death in 1984, Snowden
referred to the Fogo Process as having run its course in
Newfoundland. He was critical of government attempts to follow
up the results from Fogo.11.
There is a point, I believe, at which that whole
process is completed and that's a point where society
has become organized and where it has access to other
tools other than film to help them function..... I
think the whole of rural Nfld. society, with some
notable exceptions, because of more isolated
circumstances, has got to that point (Snowden, cited in
Quarry, 1984: 58).
THE "BUCHANS PROCESS:" or FOGO GOES TV
Another set of experiments in communications technology, which
gets us closer to the Burgeo and Ramea contexts, was the
Extension Service's work in low-power television transmitters
(sometimes called "narrowcasting," due to the limited range of
the signals). The first TV transmitter project was in Trinity in
the Fall of 1979. Three ES workers broadcast over the air from
the Community Hall on Channel 7. There was limited public input,
although some material was taped in the region.
The next year, experiments took place in Rocky Harbour and
Sally's Cove, on the Northern Peninsula. A studio was built into
a van and all that was needed was an electrical outlet to plug
the system into. Some local programs were included, along with
other Extension Service videos. This was followed by a more
ambitious narrowcasting experiment in September of 1980 in Nain.
This included five days and nights -- the days were a broadcast
of a land claims and aboriginal rights conference, the nights
were talent shows. As one of the ES workers noted of these
innovations: "For people accustomed to a regular fare of
commercial television a local channel is like a mirror talking
back. Nothing in their previous experience had prepared people
for this kind of community television" (Callanan, 1983: 3).
The ES sponsored 12 separate TV transmitter projects during the
1980s. The Buchans experiment in 1985, after the closure of the
local mine, was one of the most documented. Buchans was a
company town of about 1,600 people which had been hit hard by the
closure of their mine (and central economic force) in 1984. The
Extension Service became involved, and began planning a model of
"learning-for-development" using cable television as the central
technology.12. Field workers helped local people to determine
the issues to be covered, the entertainment to be used, the sites
to be photographed, and so on. This whole process of planning a
specific set of broadcasts and then executing the plans was
referred to by Harris (1992) as "the Buchans Process."
Buchans Community Television (BCTV) was only on the air for
three days, in May 1985, with 8 hours of programming per day
(from 4 pm to midnight). However, it took an immense amount of
planning beforehand. The broadcasts featured entertainment,
local information, suggestions for entrepreneurial opportunities,
discussion of the chance of attracting a correctional institution
(a local issue at the time), phone-ins on development and
It is widely assumed by people involved that everyone in
Buchans watched the broadcasts (or at least part of them).
According to Harris (1992), the programs achieved a number of
effects, including: the revitalization of community spirit,
increased cohesion in the community, increased confidence in the
abilities of community members, the creation of a common and
equitable data base and an increase of participation in community
life. The television format was considered to be a good choice,
due to convenience, comfort and the lower threshold of
involvement (even people with little information or who are
unsure of whether they want to participate can listen in and turn
it off if they wish, and people are more likely to call in and
talk than to stand up at a public meeting and talk).
In spite of some successes, the "Buchans Process" was not a
long-term solution. The purpose was to help people take stock of
their situation, get additional information and set in place a
local process to make some informed decisions. But the projects
took a great deal of planning, and it was not clear how the model
would apply to conventional cable television, due to the
intensity of the transmitter projects, the novelty of the
experience and the prior presence of a community development
worker (Curran, 1989).
In addition, community television was being established outside
the influence of the University and it Extension Service. Burgeo
and Ramea both set up their own community-owned and operated
cable television systems and by the late 1980s had begun to
experiment with producing local programs. The television scene
was changing rapidly, with the rise of satellite delivery. Some
communities had access to the CANCOM system and were
redistributing materials. Newfoundland has more than 300
communities with their own cable TV systems tied in to satellite
dishes. These communities can also show their own videos and
programs, if they have the political will and a little technical
It is interesting to note that the Extension Service did not
champion the promise of cable as a community technology.
Community access television grew out of the ferment of the 1960s,
when there were demands for a democratization of communication.
Cable channels became mandatory on some cable systems, due to
CRTC rules about the need for such companies to put something
back into the communities, and also the vision of early
commissioners such as Pierre Juneau, who believed that broadcast
television could not meet the demands for a variety of voices.
But over time, the programs on community cable tended toward more
conventional and general-interest programs. Goldberg argues that
community access television is "a democratic concept without a
democratic structure.... The pluralistic, democratic ideals of
community access television can never be realized as long as the
licence and legal control over the programming is in private
hands" (1990: 21). This lead us into the next section on the
"Burgeo Process," as this innovation has an advantage over other
cable transmission experiments. In the case of Burgeo and Ramea,
the community both owns and controls their cable systems.
BURGEO, RAMEA AND THE "BURGEO PROCESS"
The two southwestern Newfoundland communities of Ramea and
Burgeo share a common history of relative isolation, reliance on
the fishery (and on fish merchants) and a lack of economic
diversification. I go into some detail on these two communities,
as this provides an illustration of the actual context in which
community-owned cable does seems to work (even in spite of long-
standing deficits in resource diversification, information, and
opportunities for grassroots community leadership-building).
Traditionally in these communities, cash-poor fishers would
"buy" their good from fish merchants, but the price of the goods
was not specified at the time of "purchase." Rather, it was
adjusted when the fishers sold their catch to the fish merchant
(Carter, 1986). Thus, for illiterate fishers, the merchants
could easily "adjust" things in their own favour. If there was a
balance, the merchant did not give the fisherman cash, but
carried forward a positive balance. Fishermen were fearful of
being cut off, which could happen due to a number of reasons,
including: poor quality of fish (and an employee of the fish
merchant was the "culler" who graded the fish) or selling one's
catch, for cash, to an independent fish buyer. This shows a
history of powerlessness (out of which strong leaders emerged,
This resulted in an economy which was usually considered to be
"impoverished," due to a lack of cash income. Indeed, according
to a 1957 report, Family Allowances alone accounted for fully 17%
of the total income in the Burgeo/Ramea area (Province of
Newfoundland, 1957: 94). It provided more cash income, even in
the late 1950s, than the inshore fishery (and this is not taking
into consideration other transfer programs, such as welfare and
pensions). However, at the same time, the majority of the people
owned their own homes (96%) and consumed a variety of foods (and
other resources) which they were able to obtain outside of the
cash nexus. This made money income to be a misleading indicator
of "absolute poverty" in outport Newfoundland.
Nevertheless, due to the economic data from the area (and the
lack of diversification), the provincial government was not
interested in putting money into economic development in the
area. The 1957 report of the South Coast Commission argued that:
money spent in extensive improvements of facilities in
essentially declining communities or areas is money
wasted. It tends to hold back the abandonment of
settlements which should disappear, allowing them to
continue to exist at levels of extreme poverty over
long periods (Province of Newfoundland, 1957: 140).
It should be remembered that this was written at a time when the
Provincial government was in the midst of a resettlement program
(funded by the Welfare Department). There was also a feeling
that, with fewer people in the fishery, the industry could become
more "productive" (a claim that we still hear 40 years later, and
which was a central plank in the philosophy behind The Atlantic
Groundfish Strategy). While the 1957 Commission did not call for
the resettlement of Burgeo and Ramea outright, it did not support
any new development money for the area (and it rejected the call
for a road to link Burgeo to other communities).
Despite this common experience, the two communities are
different from each other (and there are intense rivalries which
have waned and surged over the years). They were connected by
regular ferry service only in 1968, and a road was completed in
1979 to link Burgeo to the Trans Canada Highway and the rest of
The more recent history of the communities in relation to their
prime industry differs as well. Fish merchant Spencer Lake was
lured to Burgeo by Premier Joseph Smallwood in the early 1950s,
with promises of "substantial" government assistance if he would
take over the town's failing fish plant (Gillespie, 1986: 130).
Lake became mayor, owned the town's two fish plants, Burgeo's
only supermarket, beauty parlour, dairy, barbershop, and oil and
gas outlet. This made Lake very powerful, but when the major
fish plant turned around, many residents felt grateful to Lake
for saving their jobs. He worked for "his" people, but he also
demanded total loyalty, and felt that union activity (in
particular) was an insult and an affront. He threatened to sell
and move away if his workers ever joined the union.
In 1956, when Lake married Margaret Penny (heiress to the Ramea
fish plant) the couple merged their fishery operations. They
became "what was for the time the most completely integrated
fishery operation in the province," with trawlers, plants,
refrigerator ships for transport to market, and a US-based
distribution company in Gloucester Massachusetts (Inglis, 1985:
118). When an organizing drive by the Newfoundland Fisheries,
Food and Allied Workers Union (NFFAWU) came to Burgeo in the
early 1970s, Lake threatened to close down the town's industry if
the NFFAWU was successful in organizing. He said:
In these isolated outports I contend that there is no
place for a union... I'm not anti-union, I just think
that in certain circumstances unions are not practical.
And this is one of them: isolated outports in
Newfoundland. You haven't got the local leadership to
run them intelligently, with all due respect to the
people -- I'm very fond of them (cited in Inglis, 1985:
This showed the paternalistic attitude of fish merchants, and
also the irony that the merchants' power was indeed a barrier to
the development of local leaders.
Nevertheless, the workers voted for a union (NFFAWU), by a
narrow margin. The first negotiations began in the town's church
hall, but Lake rejected the union's demands. On June 3, 1971,
the union voted to strike, and pickets went up the next day.
Lake waited the weekend, then demanded that the pickets come down
within 24 hours or he would close the Burgeo operation. By the
end of June, the plant was up and operating again, with non-union
workers and students (some as young as 11 years old). The
strikers blocked the road to the plant. Lake brought in his
replacements by boat. The strikers countered with a floating
picket line connected by a rope. Lake's own son took a load of
workers through, cutting the rope line, and almost sparking a
violent confrontation. Lake later got an injunction against the
floating line, and a limit on the number of pickets.
The strike dragged on for months. Premier Smallwood was facing
an election and his popularity was dragging (so he did not want
to take a position on the issue). On October 19, the strikers
defied the injunction and had a mass rally, which got out of
control. The strikers, and some other town members, stoned the
plant office, Lake's barbershop, beauty parlour and laundromat,
causing $25,000 damage. The next day, Lake welded the gates of
the plant shut. Frank Moores, the Conservative leader, vowed to
buy the plant if elected. He did win (although it was very
close) and the government bought the plant in early 1972, and
signed an agreement with the workers in March 1972.
However, this has left a deep rift in the town, which continues
to erupt at times, even today. And the later history of the
plant, with Bill Barry as owner, is no less contentious. Barry,
who owns a number of fish processing facilities across
Newfoundland, also tends to have very confrontational
relationships with any union that tries to organize in his
operations. Under Barry's ownership, the plant (and the town, by
extension) suffered another major labour struggle which
contributed to the closing of the fish plant before the 1992
moratorium on Northern Cod.
In the face of these difficulties and the lack of community
cohesion, Burgeo has also illustrated a certain resilience. The
Burgeo Broadcasting System (BBS) was the first community-owned
and operated cable station in the province (and maybe in Atlantic
Canada). It began in 1981 with 5 channels, and now offers
subscribers about 26 channels, including two local channels (one
contains commercial advertisements and the other is used for
community announcements and community programming). They began
to make their own community programs in 1988, and have a paid
staff member who devotes his time to programming. Regular weekly
programs include the Sunday night local news show, a popular
music show called "Bandwagon," and a kid's show called "Pansy's
Garden." BBS also broadcasts public meetings, graduations,
school concerts, church services, the Santa Claus parade, the
Lion's Club mock jail, and so on.
The system was built through a sale of shares (at $150 each)
and a bank loan. Currently, about 95 to 98 percent of the
households in Burgeo are hooked up to BBS, and they pay $19.50
per month (taxes included). There is a great deal of devotion
within the town to the BBS (some people even pay their cable
bills a year in advance!). Since it is a non-profit
organization, BBS puts all of its surpluses back into either
purchasing more channels or equipment or producing more community
programming. This is what I call the "Burgeo Process" --
community-owned and community-controlled cable, which then
supports the production of local materials on an ongoing basis.
It combines some of the advantages of the earlier processes
(community-control, a reflection of the community, a forum for
the discussion of local issues) along with a solid and continuing
Despite the name, this has process is also taking place in
Ramea, but it just started a bit later (although I would suggest
that it might be more successful in Ramea, as the community is
not as divided to begin with). In 1974, Decks Awash (the
Extension Service publication) provided the following comparison
of Burgeo and Ramea: "Ramea is as neat and tidy as Burgeo is
sprawling and ungainly. With large well-kept houses, Ramea gives
the feeling of stability and money" (Decks Awash, 1974B). While
this was not very generous to Burgeo, it did recognize the
differences in the two towns, only 16 kilometres of ocean apart.
The town of Ramea is located on the main island of a group of
islands (that are also called the Ramea Islands). The islands
were known to Portuguese fishers as early as the 1500s.
Permanent settlement in Newfoundland was illegal until 1824 (West
Country fish merchants did not want interference with the
fishery), but in 1822 W.E. Cormack spent the night in Ramea and
reported that two families were resident there at the time
(Kendall and Kendall, 1991: 7).
Ramea's most important industry, John Penny and Sons, opened
about 1874, and by 1890 it had expanded into the export business,
trading to Europe, the West Indies and Brazil. The company
lasted over a hundred years, and played a vital part in the
community. Penny and Sons operated like classic fish merchants,
and some accounts characterize Ramea as being in a "quasi-feudal"
state up through the middle of this century (Carter, 1986). The
Pennys employed many at their fish plant and on their boats,
bought fish from local inshore fishers, operated the general
store, and brought back a wide variety of products on their ships
on the return voyages.
In 1936, Garland Penney, the magistrate at Burgeo, estimated
that 70% of the fishermen in Ramea were indebted to Penny and
Sons (Kendall and Kendall, 1991: 34). And those indebted to the
company were bound to sell their fish in a green state to the
firm at the price of one cent per pound -- so they could not salt
the fish and cure it and then sell it to some other merchant.
Penny and Sons was run by a succession of Pennys, some of whom
would run the business for a time but then move back to Halifax
or Boston. The last Penny owner, Margaret, married Spencer Lake
(owner of the Burgeo fish plant). As mentioned above, Spencer
was anti-union, and after he lost a battle with the NFFAWU, he
moved his energies to union-free Ramea. Indeed, in 1972 all but
three of the polled residents of Ramea signed a petition
(circulated by Margaret and Spencer Lake) that they would throw
union leader Richard Cashin over the wharf if he set foot on the
island (Carter, 1986)!
However, in the later 1970s when Margaret began to spend more
time at her home in Boston (she had dual citizenship), some Ramea
citizens began to feel abandoned. That, along with other
reasons, resulted in a successful vote (90% in favour) to certify
an NFFAWU union in 1977. Some benefits did accrue to the
workers. In terms of wages, the lowest wage in 1977 was $3.95
per hour, and by 1982 the lowest wage was $6.80 per hour (Barter,
1996). The union also fostered the development of leadership
capabilities in the town (a factor that fish merchants tended to
In the early 1980s, the fish plant was still the central focus
of Ramea. In 1981, John Penny &;Sons employed over 375 people
(about 50 were women), putting a total of about $2,439,000 into
the economy of Ramea every year (Scarlett, Storey and Associates,
1981: 48). It also bought fish from inshore operators in Grey
River (valued at $148,000), Francois ($287,000) and Ramea
($592,000) and operated facilities at Grey River and Francois.
But with low catches in the 1970s, the loss of fish quotas, and
the high interest rates, Penny and Sons was in financial trouble
by the early 1980s. They had a modern fish plant, but could not
pay off the cost of the modernization. In August 1981, the
company shut down operations. It reopened in November, due to a
$3.5 million loan guarantee from the provincial government. By
July 1982, the company had exhausted that money, and closed
again. Mrs. Lake made some proposals to the provincial
government, but their conditions could not be met, and the Bank
of Nova Scotia placed the Ramea plant in receivership on 6
January 1983 (Kendall and Kendall, 1991: 44). The people of
Ramea were shocked, dismayed, and they felt betrayed. They and
their forbearers had built the plant and, whatever the reason for
its demise, its loss was a blow to the community and its future.
The plant reopened under Fisheries Products International in
1983, as a part of the fisheries restructuring which was taking
place at the time.
The old regime of John Penny &;Sons, however, with its
master-man relationship was gone. It had been replaced
by an organization which adopted a strictly
businesslike attitude toward its employees. The
Newfoundland Fisheries, Food and Allied Workers Union,
which had come into the community a few years
previously, safeguarded the rights and privileges of
its members -- members now possessed a spirit of
independence and self-reliance they had never known
before (Kendall and Kendall, 1991: 46).
Although this was a blow to the economy of the island, it was a
boon to community leadership, which was to be tested in the near
Radio came to the island in the 1930s, and movies arrived a
decade later (shown by itinerant projectionists who travelled up
and down the coast). Another decade after that, in 1956, the
first television arrived in Ramea. It could receive signals from
one station, and poorly at that. This was the case through the
early 1980s, when only one channel was available.
A number of residents began discussing the possibility of
setting up their own cable company (Burgeo had done it, and
possibly the inter-community rivalries had been whetted by this).
A meeting was called and a group decided to pursue the idea,
which later became concrete as the Ramea Broadcasting Company
(RBC). To get the capital, they formed a company and had bake
sales, etc., to buy letterhead and get a phone. Then they sold
shares at $140 each (each share guaranteed a cable hookup). Then
they went to the bank and got a $25,000 loan and this (along with
355 shares sold at $140 each) paid for the entire system.
Volunteers hooked up the lines from the poles to the houses --
almost all in one weekend. RBC began broadcasting in November
1985, after several years of planning, with 5 channels. Now it
has 22 TV channels and 5 FM radio signals, which costs
subscribers (currently about 332) $20 per month (taxes included).
The original loan has been paid off and profits go into getting
more channels. By the time RBC was up and running there were
three satellite dishes in town, two of which were soon removed.
So, instead of an individualistic model with independent
satellite dishes, Ramea chose a communal model with shared
RBC started programming about 1990, using a little shack for
its control headquarters. A studio with two stationary cameras
was put up about 1994-95. It is in a house trailer that was
converted from a former Pentecostal Church. Local programs are
broadcast on Sundays at 1:00. They include music programming,
children reading local news, church services, school events,
public forums on local topics, and so on. Other times the
channel has text and advertising. Just about everybody watches
on Sunday afternoons, and approximately 95 percent of the town's
households are hooked up to cable. If a politician comes to
town, chances are s/he will go on community TV, rather than have
a live meeting. During a recent televised fundraiser on the
cable station, RBC raised almost $17,000!
But the 1990s have not been easy for Ramea, and times have
tested the community's cohesion. After the moratorium on
Northern Cod was announced in July 1992, the local fish plant
tried to switch to other under-utilized species. But Fisheries
Products International operated the plant only sporadically, and
after the company underwent restructuring, it lost interest in
operating the plant altogether. By 1994, the plant was almost
totally non-operational. To add to the community's problems,
their school burned down in November 1993, their lighthouse was
de-staffed in the spring of 1995 and they could no longer rely on
consistent medical assistance in their clinic. (From June 1995
to October 1997, Ramea was served by 27 different physicians,
most of them coming on weekend visits.)
However, the community was able to respond positively. RBC
provided a forum for the discussion of some of these issues and
helped to spearhead the drive for a new school (including holding
benefit concerts).13. An organization was formed, the Ramea
Economic Development Corporation (REDC), which was able to secure
funding for an Economic Development Officer. REDC also began a
campaign to buy the fish plant from FPI. In December 1994, in a
secret ballot, 95 percent of the people at a town meeting agreed
that REDC should buy the plant. In January of 1995, this
community-based group purchased the plant from FPI for $1. REDC
then went about attempting to find operators to open the plant.
In addition, the group ensured that the plant was maintained
properly. Ramea residents have put in about 70,000 hours of free
labour in maintaining the fish plant since FPI ceased its
operations. This, in spite of the knowledge on the part of some
of the volunteers that they probably would not get jobs even if
the facility did open.
During this time, many rumours continued to circulate about
plans for the plant, so REDC used the Ramea Broadcasting Company
to hold regular updates (instead of having public meetings, which
were not always very well attended). Thus far, they have had
some limited short-term success with finding outside operators,
but nothing long-term. In April 1998, the latest operator (who
leases the plant from REDC) set up business to process crab,
shrimp, groundfish and lobster, and the community is once again
optimistic about having a future in the new fishery.
It would be nearly impossible to separate out the effects of
RBC from other factors, but in the minds of key community
players, the their community cable channel has allowed them to
communicate more directly and efficiently with the population.
The support for decisions such as buying the fish plant would
have been very difficult to nurture and maintain without a strong
communications program which not only imparted information, but
which also required local participation. Clearly, in the sharing
of this information, the sense of pessimism that pervades many
other Newfoundland communities has been kept to a minimum.
COMMUNICATION FOR SURVIVAL:
FOGO, BUCHANS, BURGEO AND BEYOND
This brings us to the final model of community development
which privileges the place of communications technology. It
builds on all of the above "processes," and I suppose could be
called one of its own. But its effects have been to support
other strategies under way more than to create new approaches.
Communication for Survival (CFS) operated in southwestern
Newfoundland with funding from Human Resource Development Canada,
from June 1995 to March 1997. Despite the end of funding, some
CFS activities are ongoing and the name continues to be used.
The initiative won the first-ever Don Snowden Community
Development Achievement Award from the Newfoundland-Labrador
Association for Adult Education in November 1996.
CFS was animated by Ryakuga, a "non-profit grassroots
communications company registered in 1992 in Newfoundland... our
purpose is to promote local/community communications in a global
context" (according to their website). Ryakuga believes that
when people take control of the communication process, they gain
in self-confidence, which makes them feel more able to analyze
and alter their own situation. The organization works with
groups in largely rural communities, focussing on alternative,
participant-controlled media. Both Fred Campbell and Bruce
Gilbert (the actual coordinators of the CFS initiative) worked
for the MUN Extension Service from 1989 until it was phased out
in 1991, then they formed a community development co-operative
and later the Rural Newfoundland Cultural Survival Project in
CFS defined itself as an informal partnership of communities,
agencies, groups and individuals "who are working together to
promote the survival of rural communities through the sharing of
ideas and information with the long-term goal of solving
community and regional problems of common concern" (Rural
Newfoundland Cultural Survival Project, 1997: 2).14. The
specific goals of CFS were to improve community dialogue and
information sharing, develop the skill and confidence of
participants, strengthen the efforts of existing community
groups/agencies, to promote community planning, to facilitate
discussion on local employment creation and to "highlight culture
as a key to stimulating pride of place, for encouraging respect
for the rural way of life, and for strengthening local resolve
that partner communities will survive" (Rural Newfoundland
Cultural Survival Project, 1997: 4).
An underlying principle of CFS was the importance of
communication, not just within a community but also between
communities which are experiencing similar problems and between
communities and the external agencies which affect them. If
there were a "CFS Process" it would clearly be the promotion of
what was called "participatory communications" to help
communities to speak out and become sustainable. The steps of
participatory communication were: familiarization with
technologies of communication, skills training, production of
programs, and enhancing sustainability (making sure that the new
communications processes continue once the animators leave)
(Communication for Survival, 1996). It was felt that if local
people got involved in the process, it would increase a feeling
of ownership and improve sustainability. If a child interviews
her grandfather about the community's history on a camcorder,
this will provide a different communications content than a bunch
of outside experts coming in with expensive technology.15.
The main communication tool for CFS was small format video,
used by volunteer groups. The co-ordinators of CFS would spend
time in each of the four communities (one to two weeks at a
time), teaching media skills and helping the local groups to
develop the ability to make their own programs. So over the life
of the program they visited each community a number of times.
CFS worked with RBC and BBS to produce programs, helped with
tourism awareness, newsletter production, workshops on
communication in groups, and tried to help Mainland and Lourdes
to develop a community TV capability. One of the major events
for the organization was Communication for Survival Week, in
October 1996, which took place in the four communities. In
Burgeo and Ramea, CFS used the local cable stations, but in
Lourdes and Mainland they set up temporary studios broadcasting
local programming and special events on the local private cable
system. (One could think of this as four separate "Buchans
Process" events.) The programming was a mixture of live and
taped materials, generally issue-driven, often related to
economic issues (tourism, the economic development zone board,
fisheries news and fish plant news, youth issues, community TV
bingo). Phone-ins and phone-outs were used, and there was some
sharing of information from one community to another. As with
all of CFS material, other important elements of the programs
included taped scenery with music (to make people feel good about
where they live), interviews about the past, school kids reading
local news and live entertainment.
A second major event for CFS was a conference held in March
1997 for people involved in social, economic or cultural
development, to teach participatory communication skills. These
included technical skills such as newsletter production,
Community TV/Video, Community radio, black and white photography,
computer communications, posters and brochures, popular
theatre/drama/ music, news writing. More than 100 people
attended the event, which focussed on the sustainability of
culture, the role of the mass media in changing social problems,
and the need for communication to decrease barriers between
government and communities. In spite of the end of funding, CFS
plans a second conference in early summer, 1998.
In sum, Communication for Survival illustrates the continued
tradition in rural Newfoundland of experimenting with
participatory communication as a process and a tool in community
development. Whether this initiative can continue to unfold in
the local communities without the direct assistance of the
animators will be the real test of CFS's effectiveness.
Moving from the early Extension Service work through to the
Communication for Survival Initiative, one can see some common
threads, but also some changes. The approaches have been altered
somewhat, the technologies have changed and, more significantly,
the communities themselves have changed. Some might ask whether
a "Fogo Process" could work in another community, such as Ramea.
However, it is not even clear whether it could still work in
Fogo. The community is no longer as isolated, at least in terms
of telecommunications, there is some access to centralized
decision-makers, and the merchants and clergy are not as
important as they used to be. As the community contexts changed,
the approaches to stimulating development needed to change as
well. In all of the above experiments, however, the
democratization of information was important. There appear to be
some advantages to technologies which allow people to get the
same information at the same time -- how and when they get
information may be as important as what they get access to.
One could also ask whether these technologies of communication
have replaced other forms of communication? In doing so, is this
positive? Some Extension Service workers believed that community
viewing was an important component of the early experiments, and
that the same effects could not be seen if people watch in their
homes, isolated from each other. But these technologies appear
to increase the amount of information which communities receive.
In a place like Ramea, the local development committee can
broadcast town meetings, every few months, if there is some
important issue for the whole town to consider. So a much wider
group of people would watch in their own homes than would venture
down to the church hall for a meeting.
Ironically, in using the technologies to maintain traditional
pride in community and culture, these technologies probably
change the communities themselves. The technology itself can act
as a kind of a counter-culture "which changes the relationships
of all those who use it whether they be men, women, children,
old, young, powerful, or weak" (Casmir, 1991: 24). It results in
the construction of a "third culture" (Casmir's term), which is
created when a group is undergoing change and cannot go back to
what it was but also cannot stay as it is.
Communication is, as Carey said, the "creation, representation
and celebration of shared values" and that may best be done by a
community through a technology which provides it with images of
itself. Harris (1992) refers to narrowcasting as a form of
"collective dreaming," but a dreaming that inspires action to
follow. As she writes of the effects of the Buchans Process:
"Seeing people known to them was one of the features of
narrowcast television of which residents spoke repeatedly.
Seeing themselves, their friends, and their neighbours on BCTV
was equated to seeing their community. Being taught and informed
by themselves, reflecting on self-in-community, was crucial"
(Harris, 1992: 196). As one resident of Buchans put it: "Say
you're watching the [CBC] National, you're watching the other
side of the world. By watching this project, you are watching
yourself. People could see themselves, see inside, really see
what's going on around you" (Calvin, as cited in Harris, 1992:
And back in Ramea, they can (and do) watch themselves as well.
One day on the ferry, as it rounded the point into the main
harbour, I asked myself: "In traditional economic terms, what
comparative advantage do these people have, to enable them to
stay?" They do have a good, well-equipped fish plant and a
trained work force. But their real competitive advantages are a
will to remain there, a rootedness, a pride in their island way
of life, and a sense of cultural location. That will keep some
of them here for awhile. Or, at least they leave with more
awareness of their roots and with more reticence. Ramea's
community profile, called "Preparing for Tomorrow," clearly
illustrates this pride. The introduction to the community
Ramea has always been a very peaceful and cohesive
community, which is still very much evident today. It
has an exceptionally low crime rate and a community
spirit that is enviable. Its residents have a strong
sense of pride and attachment to the town.
But beyond this pride, the question of the efficacy of
participatory communications as a development tool requires a
much more complex answer. To use the standard academic
benediction, the question requires more research.16. Given the
communications infrastructure and the recent history of
consensus-building, I would say that if any isolated outport
community can make it, Ramea will. But that is the theory. The
praxis is more difficult.
In the 1991 census, Ramea had 1225 people. One evening, in
Ramea's only diner, I asked the waitress how many people she
thought lived there now. "850," she says, "maybe 825." She is
speaking here not of census facts. She is speaking out of the
experience of a marginalized community, holding on. But at least
they know they are holding on, and they can see each other hold
on as they attempt to continue to protect the way of life that
they value. And that assurance, that cultural self-awareness, is
something that their communications technology has played a major
part in nurturing.
Barter, Florence. 1996. "History of the Ramea Fish Plant."
Unpublished paper, Westviking College.
Brodhead, Dal. 1994. "Community Economic Development Practice in
Canada," in Burt Galaway and Joe Hudson (eds.), Community
Economic Development: Perspectives on Research and Policy.
Thompson, Toronto, pp. 2-12.
Callanan, Charlie. 1981. "Media Within MUN Extension Service."
Unpublished paper circulated to the Director of Extension and
Members of the Executive Committee from the Head of the Media
Unit, Memorial University of Newfoundland Extension Service, St.
Callanan, Charles. 1983. "A report on three days of "narrow
casting" in Admirals Beach, NF." Memorial University Extension
Service, St. John's.
Carey, James S. 1985. "Overcoming Resistance to Cultural
Studies," in Michael Gurevitch and Mark R. Levy (eds.) Mass
Communication Review Yearbook, Volume 5. Sage, Beverly Hills, pp.
Carter, Jeff. 1986. Robert Meade -- And So I Did! The Biography
of a Newfoundlander. Creative Publishers, St. John's.
Carter, Roger A. 1985. "The Fogo Island Co-operative: An
Alternative Development Strategy?" M.A. Thesis, Memorial
University of Newfoundland.
Casmir, Fred L. 1991. "Culture, Communication, and Development,"
in Fred L. Casmir (ed.), Communication in Development. Ablex,
Norwood, pp. 5-26.
Clugston, Michael. 1991. "Outport revival," Canadian Geographic,
volume 3, number 6 (December), pp. 50-61.
Colford, Gerald D. 1964. "Educational Television in
Newfoundland." Unpublished paper, Memorial University of
Newfoundland, Extension Service, St. John's.
Committee on the Review of the Extension Service. 1981. "Report
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1. In the course of researching this area, I have had the
privilege to visit several such communities, and meet with a
number of "local heroes." I'd like to thank, especially, the
following people for assistance in helping me to understand the
communities and issues involved in this paper: Sam Fiander, Tom
Hutchings, Fred Campbell, Dave Cooper, Hartley Cutler, Claude
Strickland and Wilfred Cutler.
2. I use the term "community" to refer to a group of people
linked by a perception of having a common heritage, culture,
social interests and norms, beliefs, and employment patterns.
3. "Participatory communications technologies" do not simply mean
representations of a community, or the hardware that is necessary
to produce these representations, but it also refers to the whole
set of processes which go into planning, preparing,
skills-training, production and dissemination of local programs.
4. Economic growth can even be detrimental to a community, as it
might stimulate more dependence on outside sources of food and
commodities, push the community even further into individualism
and the cash/wage economy and change the nature of community
participation. Economic development, improperly applied, can
destroy a community socially.
5. The link between extension workers and academic departments,
for example, was not well developed. But the role of an Extension
Service can be problematic, and MUN is not the only university to
have these difficulties.
6. Art May, President of MUN, announced the closure of the ES in
March of 1991, stating that it was due to financial challenges
facing the university, and that its activities were not
"essential" to the university's primary responsibilities.
7. Ironically, the other location where Snowden felt co-ops might
work was in Port au Choix, which was where the Fogo Process was
refined in the late 1960s.
8. This was not uncommon throughout Newfoundland, however, as
churches have, until recently, been intimately involved in the
9. Of course, difficulties remain on Fogo -- there is still some
rivalry and jealousy of Fogo, the main town of about 1,100, there
is still a heavy reliance on federal transfer programs, the
co-operative has had some difficult times (as many fish plants
have), there are consistent threats to the regular ferry service,
and almost everyone is a seasonal worker. But the community is
still there, and there have been waves of cultural renaissance
since the original Fogo Process.
10. An exception to this was in 1969, when a camera and sound
crew went to Labrador. In one small community of six families
(West Bay), a module was made on the fish merchant from Cartwright
who they relied upon. None of the people were literate, and no
cash changed hands with the merchant. Upon viewing that module,
the people were worried that the merchant would be angry and cut
off their credit. So it was not shown until after the merchant's
death. This was the only module that did not receive approval by
11. For example, the Community Centres project (funded by a
federal grant), which set back the community use of video by
dropping off video technologies in communities without adequate
thought as to their use.
12. They had also moved from the use of film to the use of video
by this time, a shift which was accompanied by various arguments
about the relative merits of each technology. Film, for example,
requires much more planning that video, and this coordination is
sometimes of significant benefit to a community.
13. Keep in mind that one of the major fears of communities
facing resettlement is the loss of schools and clinics. There was
a fear that the Provincial government would refuse to fund a new
school, in an effort to resettle the town. However, the parents
threatened various actions, and set up school rooms in local
service group halls and the church hall and other unused
buildings. Finally, in early 1997, a new school was opened to a
rather emotional community welcome.
14. Four major areas of Newfoundland were community partners in
CFS, each of which had a local steering committee -- Burgeo,
Ramea, Mainland and area and Lourdes and area. Mainland and
Lourdes are both communities on the Port au Port Peninsula in
western Newfoundland, and area especially hard hit by economic and
social deficits. Sponsoring partners were the Port au Port
Community Education Initiative, Ramea Economic Development
Corporation, Association Regionale de la Cote Ouest and the Rural
Newfoundland Cultural Survival Project.
15. Fred Campbell of CFS and Ryakuga was adamant that they should
not overwhelm people with "professional standards" and fancy
equipment. If one wanted community ownership, then it is
important to identify technical resources in the community (such
as VCRs, camcorders, TVs, microphones). As CFS wrote: "The
essential ingredients of our recipe [for community programming]
are a speakerphone; a camcorder; a VCR and television; some taped
programming, and lots of people" (Communication for Survival,
16. And such research is continuing -- this paper represents
somewhat tentative and preliminary findings from a longer project.